ORS Reviews: Rayman Origins (PS Vita)

by Allan Price

Most game savvy people would have to agree that the Playstation Vita has one of the most impressive launch line-ups for any console in recent times. You just have to look at the 3DS….which had PilotWings and Ridge Racer 3D. The Vita hits the ball out the park when it comes to quality with the likes of Uncharted: Golden Abyss, Wipeout 2048 and Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3. They are just the tip of the Vita launch iceberg because one of the other great launch titles comes from an old favourite.

It’s a Vita conversion of Rayman Origins, last year’s beautiful retro reboot of the classic platformer, and it’s arrived on Vita with its gorgeous hand-drawn HD visuals wonderfully intact. It’s arguably the most stunning-looking 2D platformer ever made, and one of the most inventive, matching the likes of New Super Mario Bros Wii when it comes to throwing in crazy concepts at a frantic rate.


Rayman Origins also has its own distinctive cartoon style, an infectious, exuberantly silly brand of humour, and one of the best soundtracks in modern gaming. You’re not just interacting with the visual landscape, but also with the soundscape too. All of this remains in the Vita version of the game. Visuals designed to show off the 1080p look with stunning sharpness and vibrant color on the 5 Inch OLED screen, the smooth animation and slick, multi-layered backgrounds appear to have made the transition without a detail fudged or missed.

Rayman Origins asks a lot of your platforming skills, and so a lot of the controls. If I was being really, really picky we might say that the left analogue stick isn’t quite as precise on the Vita as it is in the PS3 version, but there’s not much in it, and within a short period of starting play we’d ceased to notice. While Rayman Origins has its share of nasty difficulty spikes, we can’t honestly blame the controls for our failure to zip through these on the first try.

Vita-specific features are relatively thin on the ground. Bar the pinch-to-zoom gesture, the main one in the single-player campaign is some extra collectible items – relics – which you have to tap when you see them on the screen. All I can say is, good-luck remembering to do so when you’re in the midst of all that bonkers platforming mayhem.

One thing missing from its console counterparts is multiplayer which is a slight disappointment, but not one that should put you off Rayman Origins on Vita for a minute. If you have a home console and simply want to play the game, then the 360 and PS3 versions are now widely available for under £20, so might be a more tempting bet. Yet there’s something about the fast-paced, short-lived levels of Rayman Origins that make it a natural fit for handheld play, and the action is just as compulsive and addictive as it was on the home consoles, if not more so. In fact, one of the best things about replaying Rayman Origins on Vita is that it hammers home what an artful, beautifully constructed platformer it is, making it all the more tragic that more people haven’t managed to pick it up. This new Vita version marks a chance to put this situation straight.

In Conclusion
A fabulous conversion of one of the finest 2D platformers ever made, with beautiful HD cartoon graphics, bags of energy and an excess of ideas. If you missed Rayman Origins on its first pre-Christmas run this is an opportunity to make good on your mistake, and if you buy it on Vita then you’re buying one of the best launch games on the system.



Follow Allan on Twitter @AllanGWPrice

ORS Reviews: Lumines Electronic Symphony

by Allan Price


When it comes to musical rhythm games, Q entertainment knows what they are doing. First launching with the PSP, Lumines has become a classic gaming hit due to its addictive gameplay, fantastic soundtrack and suitability for portable gameplay. With the launch of the PlayStation Vita, Q? entertainment have gone back to the well along with Ubisoft and crafted Electronic Symphony. Whilst the core of the Lumines franchise remains the same, there is enough in this package to justify yet another purchase of this fantastic series.

For those who may have never played a Lumines game, the aim is to build blocks of the same colour that will then eliminate them. It works a bit like Tetris aside from the fact that you are matching colours not building lines. As those colours match, the lines will eliminate and the music may change, depending on how far into the level you are.


Lumines: Electronic Symphony introduces touch game-play for the first time. Whilst most of the game can be controlled by the regular controls of the PlayStation Vita, you can if you wish move the blocks via the touch screen. This sometimes can feel a bit more intuitive than the regular controls, but we found a combination of both was the best solution. One frustrating aspect about this is that the menus force you to use the touch screen.

Lumines: Electronic Symphony also introduces game modes other than the main journey mode. In the journey mode you continue through various themes and soundtracks until you fail. As you reach those songs, they are unlocked for use in other game modes and to say Lumines: Electronic Symphony has a brilliant soundtrack is an understatement. Songs include the brilliant “Played-A-Live by Safri Duo” (which fits Lumines incredibly well), “Hey Boy Hey Girl” by the Chemical Brothers and “Yesterday when I was Mad” by the Pet Shop Boys to name just a few.

As well as the journey mode, Lumines: Electronic Symphony includes some unique game modes that are new to the series. One of the more interesting modes is the world block. Each day, the game will generate a huge block full of Lumines blocks. As players are online and playing the game, the block reduces in size until it disappears. If you contribute to the destruction of the block, you gain experience that can unlock new weapons for you to use in the journey mode.

There is also the ability to play through the themes by themselves to up your score and also against the clock where you try and score as many points as possible in the time frame that you set. These modes are perfect for pick up and play. Whereas with the journey mode you can be going for half an hour or more if you get on a roll (making it not the most suitable for mode for short trips), you can set a limit of say six minutes so you know when the game will finish. And if you want to take the game to the next level it also has a master mode where the blocks come faster and the chains are not as easy to create.

Visually Lumines: Electronic Symphony is impressive. Although the PSP game did very well for the technology, the PlayStation Vita takes this to the next level with some visual effects that really bring home the visual and aural experience of the game. It’s as much about how the game looks as to how it sounds which leads to the addictive nature of the game. The soundtrack as mentioned before is one of the game’s best features and even if you don’t like the soundtrack when looking at a list, it will probably grow on you over time, especially once the addictive game-play gets to you.

In Conclusion

Lumines: Electronic Symphony is very much like the old games and in some ways that can be seen as a negative. However, Lumines has always been a game that relies so much on its addictive nature and familiarity that it’s hard to see where they could have improved the game. The changes on Vita including the world block and the touch screen controls may not be enough to consider the game value enough if you already have the old games, but on its own, Lumines: Electronic Symphony is a fantastic PlayStation Vita game.



Follow Allan on Twitter @AllanGWPrice